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Darien Sets Hearing on Affordable Housing Zone

DARIEN, Conn. – The public will get to weigh in next month on a proposed " affordable housing floating zone " that would allow any Darien property owner to develop affordable housing.

Local developers Christopher and Margaret Stefanoni have proposed the change to the town's zoning regulations. The two have argued for years that there is a serious lack of affordable housing in Darien and feel that floating zones would be an appropriate solution.

"Many people have approached me on how they can develop affordable housing on their own property, and this is exactly the vehicle they need," Christopher Stefanoni said. He said anyone  could take advantage of such a regulation.

"In fact, it is especially good for the little guy–because there are too many lawyers, liars and bullies at the top. It brings hope and makes for a level playing field, which is rare in this town."

Under Connecticut General Statute 8-30g, developers can overstep local zoning laws if they are trying to build affordable housing. In October, Darien was granted a four-year moratorium that prevents developers from using 8-30g. However, town officials have said that the town may not have enough affordable housing to qualify for another moratorium when this one expires.

When assessing the status of Darien's affordable housing in June, First Selectman Dave Campbell said that it might fall to private developers to solve the town's affordable housing shortage. The Stefanonis believe floating zones would allow every property owner to help make Darien a more inclusive place to live.

"There is nothing like free enterprise and capitalism to make positive things happen. It's a win-win," Christopher Stefanoni said.

The public hearing will be Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. in Town Hall.

Do you think Darien needs more affordable housing? Tell us in the comments below. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter .

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